Or is such intimacy a hot potato that can’t be held for too long?
I conducted my own experiments yesterday.
Intimacy and Connection: Field Notes
Child A: Was fidgety. Wanted to do something more active, but stuck with the experiment. Persevered through temptations to check the timer, and later stayed to observe as I did the same with Child B. Then kissed me on the way outside to play. I felt a sense of overwhelming love, but Child A didn’t have the stillness for that sensation to move in.
At this point the kids and I watched the above video together. Child B therefore has advance knowledge going into the subject chair.
Child B: Tolerated the 4 minutes but was uncomfortable, with skittish eyes. Even so, I felt moments of deep connection. I could sense this child at a soul level, which felt exquisite because it was devoid of judgment, either of the Child or of myself (“how do I look — do I have bedhead? food in my teeth?”). Child B reported it felt “creepy,” but said so with a sly smile.
Of note: my children are t(w)eens.
Later, Husband came home from a 2 hour bike ride. I caught him in the TV room as he was stretching.
Husband: His eyes bored into mine early on, so I softened and tried to smize. I soon realized it may have been a mistake to conduct the experiment during a basketball game (he allowed me to turn the TV off, but its essence lingered). At one point he zoned out, looking beyond me, perhaps trying to shave off a minute or two with a time warp. He showed great relief when the timer beeped, and humored me by watching about half the above video, at which point it dawned on him what the experiment was about.
My conclusion? Timing is everything.
And for better (and not necessarily more accurate) results, watch the video with your subjects before conducting the experiment.
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.